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4.48 Psychosis (c) Royal Opera House 2016. Photograph by Stephen Cummiskey

This week: 23 – 29 April

23 April 2018

Should you ever be at a loss of what to do with your free time, we have another action-packed week for you from a fascinating birdsong concert to the ever-popular annual Burlesque Festival, brand new opera or some political Mayday activism.

Sam Lee’s Singing with Nightingales



Wild nightingales will be among the guest singers joining folk star Sam Lee for a Spring concert in a unique collaboration between musician and bird. Birdsong will be transmitted live into venues from the woods, whilst Sam & special guest artists collaborate live on stage. This way, those far from the nesting sites have an increasingly rare opportunity to hear one of the UK’s rarest birds sing. Part of the RSPB National Nightingale Festival, Singing with Nightingales is raising awareness of the fast-declining population of nightingales in the UK, in the face of decreasing habitats. The number of birds visiting England has fallen by 91% in the last 40 years, with only 5500 pairs remaining, mainly in the South East. The nightingale’s courtship song is considered the most beautiful in the song bird kingdom and a concert of folk music and birdsong sounds absolutely romantic to us.
 
Singing with Nightingales with Sam Lee, Kadialy Kouyate & Donal Kearney is at Southbank Centre on 28 April 28. Tickets are £20.

 

4.48 Psychosis by the Royal Opera House

4.48 Psychosis © ROH 2016. Photograph by Stephen Cummiskey

The final play by the radical British playwright Sarah Kane, 4.48 Psychosis, is a truly gut punching depiction of her struggle with depression that was first performed posthumously in 2000 after Kane’s suicide. 24 fragmented episodes deliver a dark and at times harrowing message that is nevertheless leavened with poetry, humour and a humane warmth that only deepens the text’s emotional impact. Philip Venables’s operatic adaptation of 4.48 Psychosis is the first of its kind. Responding to the melody and rhythm innate to Kane’s writing he has created an innovative and extremely powerful piece of music theatre. The opera won the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Opera and was nominated for the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. Venables re-creates a kind of polyphony of inner voices mirroring the speech rhythm of the text by setting the play for six female singers and chamber ensemble, who are integrated into the action in Ted Huffman’s fluid production.
 
4.48 Psychosis will be performed at the Lyric Hammersmith 24 April–4 May. Tickets £15 - £40.
 
 

The Rival Queens

Photo: Sandra Vijandi

Brand new opera is always rare and exciting so we are giving you another one: The Rival Queens is an immersive operatic experience that will let you dive into a world of jealousy, fiery tempers, and more than a little scandal. Seventeenth-century London was gripped by a passion for Italian opera. Two soprano divas held centre stage—Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni. You will be led around the historic rooms of Handel House in the midst of a rehearsals for one of Handel’s operas. Performed by Emily Owen (soprano) and Jenni Harper (soprano), accompanied by members of early music ensemble Ceruleo and some special guests, a narrative will unfold through the house shedding light on the infamous rivalry between Handel’s two divas.
 
The Rival Queens will be at Handel & Hendrix, 25 Brook Street, Mayfair W1K 4HB on 24 April at 6.30 and 8 pm. Tickets are £25.
 
 

London Burlesque Festival

 
The 12th annual London Burlesque Festival is back in town strutting its stuff. Europe's first and foremost festival dedicated to the revival of Burlesque acts as centre stage for the world's finest and freshest performers in the genre, raising the global profile of the artform, establishing itself as one of the most prestigious events in the international burlesque calendar. With a packed schedule of signature themed events and showcases, the most eclectic and diverse acts push the boundaries of strip tease, alternative cabaret and contemporary vaudeville to the max, delivering the electric atmosphere of an unbeatable night out. London Burlesque Festival is full of colour, panache and excitement.
 
London Burlesque Festival takes place 27 April – 2 June at various London venues.
 
 

The Poster Workshop’s Mayday weekend poster exhibition

 
Mayday is traditionally a day for political messages and if you are into activism, then you’d be right on trend heading to The Poster Workshop in Camden which will be showcasing 8ft recreations of their political posters (printed between 1968-1971) in a pop-up exhibition hosted in Camden Market’s Old Art Gallery. They’ll also be reviving their poster workshop and printing posters on site, using their original silkscreen method. Watch as they recreate A2 and A3 size posters and take home a piece of political history or meet the original team behind The Poster Workshop and hear their first hand stories from a time when they were at the heart of London’s protest scene. Set up in a basement in Camden in the summer of 1968, a printmaking collective rode on the wave of rebellion sweeping the world at that time and set about turning activists’ slogans into vivid visual images.
 
The Poster Workshop’s Mayday weekend poster exhibition is at The Old Art Gallery, North Yard, Camden Market, NW1 8AF on 28 April –1 May and is free.
 
 
 
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